MoveMakers & NewsMakers for Jan. 11, 2022
See who is making news and moving where in the weekly Missouri Bar update "MoveMakers & NewsMakers."
Sanders Warren Russell & Scheer congratulates Stacey Dowd for being named partner of the firm.
Dowd practices in a variety of areas at the firm. She is adept at handling all aspects of litigation from the initial investigation, coordination and execution of strategy, to bringing cases to successful resolution, either through mediation or trial. She has tried several cases as first chair.
Prior to joining the firm, Dowd practiced at two large law firms in St. Louis in the areas of first-party insurance, product liability, and general civil litigation. While in law school, she served as a lead editor of the Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law and Policy and earned excellence awards in health care law and human subject regulation.
Spencer Fane LLP is pleased to announce three lawyers in the St. Louis office have been elected as partners: Elizabeth (Liz) O’Brien Felker, Arthur Gregg, and Ravi Sundara. The elections were effective Jan. 1, 2022.
“Spencer Fane remains fiercely committed to providing all attorneys with paths to leadership within the firm,” Spencer Fane Chair Patrick J. Whalen said. “Our new partners have demonstrated a longstanding dedication to their clients’ success as well as the firm’s culture. I am grateful to be able to welcome them into the partnership, and look forward to witnessing their continued excellence in the practice of law.”
Felker focuses her practice on business transactions, employee benefits, and deferred and executive compensation, drawing on her experience in mergers and acquisitions, complex commercial relationships, corporate formations or reorganizations, and public and private securities offerings. She works with clients across a wide variety of industries from the entity formation stage through the life cycle of the business enterprise and provides counsel on strategic and regulatory issues, business and succession planning, and corporate governance matters, regularly advising on and negotiating agreements related to clients’ ongoing business operations and arrangements with key management personnel.
“For me, becoming a partner is significantly more meaningful because of the way I feel about my Spencer Fane colleagues and clients,” Felker said. “The immense respect I have for the attorneys I work with day in and day out, along with the ways in which firm leadership has made clear that they genuinely care about my professional and personal growth, makes my nomination to join their partnership exponentially more rewarding — and humbling — than a simple change in title might suggest. Along with the many positives in the profession, being an attorney in private practice can at times be challenging on a lot of different levels, irrespective of where you practice. However, the consistent tendency of my colleagues at Spencer Fane to put the needs and preferences of clients and fellow attorneys before their own regularly reminds me how rewarding this career really can be when you’re in the right place and working with people who prioritize collaboration, mutual support, and respect for others in doing the job and doing it well.”
Gregg helps clients navigate the complexity and uncertainty of litigation to make sure they remain fully informed and best-positioned to obtain a favorable outcome. Whether he is in front of a judge, jury or arbitration panel, Gregg has experience delivering victories for his clients and successfully defending those victories on appeal. Recognizing that sometimes the most beneficial outcomes occur before the onset of litigation, he also has experience working with clients to recognize, preempt, and resolve issues that can threaten their success.
“Spencer Fane understands that investing in its attorneys, especially its young attorneys, is crucial for the services we ultimately provide to our clients,” Gregg said. “Spencer Fane encourages attorneys to not only hone their legal expertise but also to deepen their engagement with their local communities and extend their network with firm attorneys across the country. Each of these things is an asset for both the attorney and, ultimately, any client Spencer Fane represents.”
Sundara assists mainly tax-exempt organizations with corporate, tax and regulatory compliance, deferred and direct charitable giving, and employee benefits legal matters. This includes advising clients on corporate formations, reorganizations, mergers, and asset sales and acquisitions and structuring transactions that allow them to achieve their goals within legal parameters. His specific experience includes the formation of tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable and religious corporations, and advising as to tax-exempt status, unrelated business income tax, securities, charitable solicitation, and other related regulatory matters. He also assists officers and boards with corporate governance issues.
Sundara said, “For me, the significant collaborative structure and culture at Spencer Fane has been beyond expectations, and it has greatly helped to expand my nonprofit organizations practice. Also, and just as important, the firm’s primary emphasis on client service, rather than fixating on metrics such as billable hours, margin, etc., aligned with my values perfectly, and I knew that this was where I wanted to complete my career.”
The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation has selected Carrie Crompton, operations and finance manager for St. Louis Area Diaper Bank, to participate in its 2022 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge program.
The program is designed to provide a unique Missouri statewide traveling symposium for emerging and established motivated women leaders. Class members have insightful experiences and discussions about each community and its issues, and they are trained to accept future leadership roles where they are motivated to take action.
Capes Sokol announces that Alec P. Atkinson and Bryce G. Pfalzgraf have joined as associates in the firm’s litigation practice group.
Atkinson works with businesses and individuals to resolve complex civil litigation matters, including business and employment disputes. He has represented clients in matters ranging from routine breach of contract cases to sophisticated and complex non-compete covenants and tortious interference claims.
Atkinson graduated in 2019 from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, where he served as the note and comment editor for the Business, Entrepreneurship and Tax Law Review. He was a member of the Veterans Clinic, aiding veterans and their families with their disability benefits claims. In addition, as part of the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, he provided legal services to members of the university and local communities seeking to establish businesses. Atkinson received his B.A. in political science from Truman State University.
Pfalzgraf handles all types of commercial litigation, including disputes arising out of employment relationships, real estate transactions, shareholder matters, and non-competition and non-solicitation agreements.
In 2013, Pfalzgraf served as a law clerk for Judge David G. Bernthal of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. He also worked as a student attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, where he represented clients in legal proceedings involving dissolution of marriages and orders of protection. As the highest scoring student in the clinic, he received the 2014 CALI Excellence for the Future Award®.
Pfalzgraf received his law degree in 2015, magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he served as an editor of the University of Illinois Law Review. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in economics, history and philosophy.
A member of the dean’s list, Pfalzgraf distinguished himself through his involvement in the Illinois Moot Court Program. He served as clerk of the court, competed in the 2015 UCLA Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, and was an internal competition editor and invitational team member for the Frederick Green Moot Court Competition.
Missouri Bar 2021-22 President John Grimm reappointed Lisa Herder as chair of the Complaint Resolution Program Committee in November.
The five-member committee oversees The Missouri Bar’s Complaint Resolution Program, which assists with resolving complaints about lawyers that the Chief Disciplinary Counsel has determined may best be resolved outside of the formal disciplinary system.
Herder serves as director of pinnacle arbitration and mediation services, as well as lawyer referral and information service, for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. She received her J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and completed her civil mediation training at the University of Missouri School of Law.
She has served on the Complaint Resolution Program Committee since 2002 and as its chair since 2020. Her second term as chair began November 2021 and runs through November 2022.
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice elected Jessica Cozart of St. Louis as a member of the firm, effective Jan. 1.
Cozart's practice focuses on property and casualty litigation, insurance coverage and insurance defense involving claims of personal injury, premise and products liability, construction defects, and pharmaceutical liability. She received her J.D. from the Mississippi College School of Law and is admitted to practice in Illinois, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Brumitt, PC is pleased to announce director David M. Buffo has been elected as managing director of the firm by his peers. He will serve at least a two-year term and succeeds Amanda Pennington Ketchum, who was the firm’s first woman managing director.
“We are thrilled to announce that the firm has elected David Buffo to serve as our next managing director. He is an outstanding litigator and an even better representative for our firm,” said Patrick K. McMonigle, firm president. “I also want to thank Mandy, who has been our managing director for the past seven years – far longer than any other attorney has held this position at our firm. Mandy has been instrumental in guiding our firm's growth and success, as well as championing our diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
An experienced commercial litigator, Buffo has a strong business acumen that helps him understand his clients’ needs. His decade of experience in the manufacturing industry before attending law school gives him a unique perspective and approach to legal matters. When working with businesses, Buffo learns his clients’ businesses – and the industry as a whole – to help them achieve their objectives, understand possible outcomes of legal issues, and protect their businesses.
Buffo earned his J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, his MBA from Northern Illinois University and his undergraduate degree in business administration from Creighton University.
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice elected four new firm members from its Kansas City office, effective Jan. 1: Noemi Donovan, Kehl Friesen, Douglas Hill, and John Kellogg.
Donovan focuses on surety bond litigation matters, debtor-creditor rights, premises liability, and general business and civil litigation. She is a steering committee member of ALFA International’s Women’s Initiative Practice Group. Donovan received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota and is admitted to practice in Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio.
Friesen's practice areas include the defense of personal injury, products liability, premises liability, and general liability matters. He is a member of the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City and ALFA International’s Future Leaders Forum. He is a recipient of the 2021 Missouri Lawyers Media Up & Coming Award. Friesen received his J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and is admitted to practice in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri.
Hill focuses on civil defense, including professional negligence, product liability, industrial and job site injuries, and general business litigation. He received his J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and is admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri.
Kellogg's practice areas include commercial litigation, premises liability, construction law, and personal injury, with an emphasis on defending insurance coverage, vexatious refusal to pay, and bad faith disputes on behalf of insurance carriers. He is a member of the DRI Insurance Law committee. Kellogg received his J.D. from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and is admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri.
Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Brumitt, PC is pleased to announce Sydney Paquette has joined the firm as a litigation associate.
With more than 45 jury trials, in both state and federal court, Paquette is an experienced trial attorney who focuses her work in civil litigation and defending companies and individuals in the transportation and logistics industries. She has extensive experience handling all facets of pretrial litigation, discovery and trial work, including witness preparation and depositions.
“Sydney has extensive experience representing individuals in each stage of litigation, offering a unique range of perspectives to her clients,” said David M. Buffo, the firm’s managing director. “She understands her clients’ concerns and helps them identify, anticipate and understand potential hurdles before they become obstacles. Our clients will quickly learn that Sydney is driven by the same client-service ethic as the other members of our team.”
Prior to joining Dysart Taylor, Paquette was a prosecutor for the City of Overland Park where she served as a trial attorney for municipal ordinance violations, including DUIs, theft, battery and traffic charges at the city level as well as District Court appeals. She also has more than a decade of experience as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.
Paquette earned her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.
Spencer Fane LLP is pleased to announce Brian Bear and Andrea Chase have been elected as partners. The elections were effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Bear focuses his practice as a litigator and trial attorney on representing both private and public entities in complex litigation, public finance, and intellectual property, leaning on years of robust experience to aggressively advocate for his clients and help them achieve their business objectives. He began his career with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, where he oversaw significant consumer protection matters and complex litigation on behalf of the office, including the National Mortgage Settlement. He has also served as general counsel for the Missouri Department of Economic Development and frequently uses his hands-on experience with the government to represent public and private entities that require sensible solutions to federal, state, and local government matters.
“We provide creative solutions for clients,” Bear said. “Whether that means formal litigation, looking at policy reform, or finding some other way to achieve clients’ objectives, we present multiple options and approaches to achieving outcomes. I have been told multiple times by our clients that our firm always presents more options and more creative ways of tackling their problems in ways that were not even on the radar of our competitors.”
Chase represents secured and unsecured creditors and trustees in bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy insolvency proceedings such as receiverships and foreclosure proceedings, out-of-court workouts and restructurings, and other related insolvency matters. While at the University of Iowa College of Law, she externed for Chief Judge Thad Collins of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute, an annual program jointly sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and she also serves on the board of the Kansas City Bankruptcy Bar Association.
“Spencer Fane has grown a lot since I first started working here, but one thing that has not changed is its commitment to its core values,” Chase said. “This commitment sets Spencer Fane apart from other law firms.”
The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation has selected Connie Morley, managing litigation attorney for Shelter Insurance, to participate in its 2022 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge program.
Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge is an annual traveling symposium established in 1989. Each year, in a highly competitive selection process, a limited number of emerging and established women leaders are accepted into program membership. The participants meet for four, three-day enriching sessions combining continuing education in leadership development, information and major discussion of state policy issues, and exposure to the philosophies and thoughts of the state’s business, cultural, educational and political leaders.
The Missouri Bar Board of Governors appointed Emily Little to the Client Security Fund Committee.
The six-member Client Security Fund Committee administers the Client Security Fund, which the Board of Governors established in 1966 as a resource to clients harmed by the minority of lawyers who don’t adhere to the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct per the Supreme Court of Missouri.
Little serves as counsel in the University of Missouri System General Counsel Office in Columbia. She graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Law and joined The Missouri Bar in 2000.
Little said she is honored to be appointed to the Client Security Fund and believes the committee is a “great opportunity.”
“I look forward to participating in the important responsibilities of this committee and helping to promote confidence in the administration of justice,” she added.
Little replaced Shira Truitt, whose term expired in December 2021. Little’s term will end Dec. 31, 2026.
The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation has selected two lawyers from Columbia to participate in its 2022 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge program.
Cecily Hicks is the University of Missouri's Deputy Title X Coordinator & Equity Officer, and Anne Morgan serves as the University of Missouri's Senior Director of Advancement, Gift Planning.
Challenge participants are passionate about life and are committed to their careers, families, and communities. They are energetic and engaged, friendly, successful, willing to step out of their comfort zones at times, and approachable.
Spencer Fane LLP is pleased to announce Chris Weiss has joined the litigation and dispute resolution practice group as of counsel in the firm’s Springfield office.
Weiss has over twenty-two years’ experience and a proven track record as a trusted advisor and accomplished trial attorney serving clients across a wide spectrum of industries. He enjoys developing a deep knowledge of his clients, their businesses and goals, and working proactively to craft and implement creative strategies to achieve their objectives while minimizing the risks associated with litigation. When litigation arises, Weiss is a formidable advocate, helping clients navigate their most complex and important litigation matters. He has a broad background in general civil and commercial litigation. He handles a wide range of matters, including those involving class-actions, real estate, land use and zoning, construction disputes, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy matters, timeshare law, condominium law, consumer protection law, employment law, fiduciary, trust and estate litigation, restrictive covenants, and trademark matters. Weiss practices in state and federal courts as well as before administrative agencies.
“As our clients grow, we continue to focus on finding talent that can help them reach their goals. Chris cares about providing quality service and fiercely advocating for his clients,” said Jason Smith, office managing partner for Spencer Fane in Springfield. “He brings an impressive legal background to our firm and fits well with our culture. Chris will be an integral part of the team not only in Springfield but also in assisting with matters throughout our entire footprint.”
Weiss completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame and earned his J.D. from the Saint Louis University School of Law. Prior to entering private practice, he completed a clerkship with Judge Paul J. Simon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri.
In addition to his more traditional legal work, Weiss has also been recognized for his commitment to pro bono efforts and civic involvements. In 2020, he was awarded the Missouri Bar’s Pro Bono Publico Award for his outstanding voluntary commitment to pro bono services. He has chaired the boards of directors for the Springfield Art Museum, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, the Downtown Springfield Association, the Urban Districts Alliance, and The Think Big Foundation of Missouri. Weiss also founded and serves on the boards for the Springfield Art Museum Foundation and The Think Big Foundation of Missouri.
The Missouri Bar Board of Governors reappointed Judge Robert Clayton II of Hannibal to the Missouri Press-Bar Commission.
Created in 1972, The Missouri Press-Bar Commission consists of media professionals, lawyers, and judges to foster better communication between the media, the bench, and the bar.
Clayton served as a lawyer and presiding judge for the 10th Circuit Court until his retirement in 2010. He was also president of The Missouri Bar from 1985-86.
Clayton thanked The Missouri Bar for reappointing him to the Missouri Press-Bar Commission.
“Access to and understanding of the workings of the courts by all stakeholders is enhanced when the media, the bar, and judiciary can collaborate like this,” said Clayton.
His term will expire on Nov. 30, 2025.